Published by The Boston Globe, 2003-10-26
RECENT NEWS about Pope John Paul II's health and Mother Teresa's beatification may indeed take some of the focus off the Catholic Church's clergy abuse problems. Instead, this news puts the focus on some of the church's bigger problems.
Surely Mother Teresa ministered to the poor, the sick, and the dying.
But the church's frighteningly effective political attacks on birth control, promoted in particular by both Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, have caused much more poverty, sickness, and death than she ever could have relieved.
These attacks are most effective in the poorest areas, where citizens have neither the sophistication to realize how cruel it is to limit birth control on such an overpopulated planet, nor the political power to do anything about it.
The pope's own tragic illness is still incurable thanks in part to his own intransigence on stem cell research.
There is no rational way one can value the interests of nonexistent beings (the unconceived), or beings of dubious humanity (embryos in various stages of development), above the interests of real, living, conscious, and in some cases desperate human beings.